Skip to content

DeVos controlled Amphitheater Project using public money will be voted on at the February 9th Grand Rapids City Commission meeting

February 7, 2021

On Friday, MLive reported, “that the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena/Authority (CAA) approved an option agreement with the city to purchase part of a 17-acre stretch of property along the Grand River.”

In October, we reported that Grand Action 2.0 was planning to move forward with a proposal to build a large amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids.

We also reported that the land in question for the proposed amphitheater, was owned by the DeVos family, specifically the old Charlie’s Crab restaurant and the adjacent land & parking area. One of the properties is owned by 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC, which was not verified by local news sources, but 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC is in the same address that houses the DeVos businesses and the various DeVos family foundations – 126 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids.

On November 10th, we reported on updated details about this proposal, which is even more insidious. During the Grand Rapids City Commission’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday morning, the City approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), whereby the Amway Hotel Corporation, 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC, the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority and the City of Grand Rapids, have agreed to enter into a private-public agreement to build a 14,000 seat outdoor amphitheater. You can read the details of this agreement from our previous article on this topic, which means that the City of Grand Rapids will spend over $6 million to move offices they have on Market Avenue, just south of the off ramp of US 131, in order to make space for the proposed amphitheater.

Friday’s MLive article cites someone from the Convention Arena Authority and it’s partnership with the City on this project, but fails to mention the other entities involved in the project, which we listed above, which includes the Amway Hotel Corporation and 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC, both of which are controlled by the DeVos family. 

The MLive article also states that the City Commission will be deciding on this project and its use of public money, at their February 9 meeting. However, while the City Commission will be voting on this matter, they will be discussing it at the February 9 Committee of the Whole meeting, which is where these decisions are usually made. The Agenda Packet for the Committee of the Whole meeting, on pages 10 – 12, provides further details about the project and then Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Committee of the Whole recommends the adoption of the MOU, which suggests this is merely a formality and the City will once again use public money to support a project that the Convention Arena Authority will likely control.

It should also be reiterated that the Convention Arena Authority, which manages the Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and the DeVos Performance Hall, is made up of a seven member Board of Directors. The representation of that board consists of 6 people from the corporate world and Mayor Bliss, which should tell you about who really benefits with this kind of representation. 

At the Grand Rapids City Commission on the evening of February 9, they will be voting to approve this project. This matter is part of the Agenda for that meeting, so public comment for this project – where public money will again be used for private benefit – will be towards the beginning of the City Commission meeting. 

%d bloggers like this: